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Pictures in Space

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Unusual Transient: A New Kind of Magnetar? Every time we look in a new place, which in astrophysics often means bringing new tools online, we find something unexpected. The news that an object has been detected that, for one minute in every 18, becomes one of the brightest radio sources in the sky, continues the series of surprises we’ve been racking up ever since first Galileo put eye to telescope. So what is this object, and why is it cause for such interest? Here’s astronomer Natasha Hurley-Walker (Curtin University/International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research), who is lead author of the paper on the discovery: “This object was appearing and disappearing over a few hours during our observations.

That was completely unexpected. Image: A new view of the Milky Way from the Murchison Widefield Array in Western Australia, with the lowest frequencies in red, middle frequencies in green, and the highest frequencies in blue. Transients are nothing new to astronomers, but they usually don’t appear in this configuration. Five of the most exciting telescope pictures of the universe - Raw Story - Celebrating 17 Years of Independent Journalism. The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope offers unprecedented new opportunities for astronomers. It’s also a timely opportunity to reflect on what previous generations of telescopes have shown us. Astronomers rarely use their telescopes to simply take pictures. The pictures in astrophysics are usually generated by a process of scientific inference and imagination, sometimes visualised in artist’s impressions of what the data suggests.

Choosing just a handful of images was not easy. I limited my selection to images produced by publicly-funded telescopes and which reveal some interesting science. The selection below is a personal one and I’m sure many readers could advocate for different choices. 1. This image is sometimes called ‘Jupiter Blues’. Enhanced Image by Gerald Eichstädt and Sean Doran (CC BY-NC-SA) based on images provided Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS The first image I’ve chosen was produced by Nasa’s Juno mission, which is currently orbiting Jupiter. 2. G. 3. 4. 5. NASA STEREO Camera Images | STEREO Mission. NASA has debunked theories about a not-so-mysterious smudge on one of its images. The smudge in question is just an artifact of light reflected back on the lens.

UFO hunters can rest easy. For the millionth time, NASA has issued a statement assuring UFO buffs that what they've seen in an image is not, in fact, an alien. This time, it was a tiny, pinwheel-shaped smudge in an image snapped by the agency's STEREO camera that captured the interest of extraterrestrial enthusiasts. NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO) Mission is comprised of twin spacecraft that launched in 2006 to study the sun and its weather. Only one of the mission's spacecraft is still operating today. "The answer lies on the exact opposite side of the image," the STEREO team wrote in the statement.

The object, the note continues, is actually a reflection of the planet within the telescope's optics and is a common occurrence. Maybe you'll have better luck next time, Agent Mulder. This Is What the Entire Known Universe Looks Like in a Single Image. Budassi was able to do this by collecting maps, photographs, and data from Princeton researchers and NASA. In 2005, a team of Princeton researchers published a collection of logarithmic maps of the Universe in Astrophysical Journal (you can see them here).

While they look more like charts than they do rich photographs, the researchers were able to accurately "display the entire range of astronomical scales from the Earth's neighborhood to the cosmic microwave background" to a logarithmic scale. Using this information, Budassi put together "Photoshop using images from NASA and some textures created [on] my own. " The final result? Our weirdly eyeball-looking, not-exactly-to-scale-but-maybe-the-best-we-can-do-for-now Universe. NASA's Juno Took Beautiful Photo of Jupiter with Color Retouch. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt/Seán Doran Advertisement - Continue Reading Below NASA's spacecraft Juno launched over six years ago with the mission to discover what the hell is going on underneath the clouds of the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter.

Since reaching the gas giant's orbit in July 2016, it has performed scans and measurements of Jupiter's core, the water hidden in its deep atmosphere, and the planet's magnetic fields for clues to its creation—lots of good science to be had beneath those whirling red skies. And above, there are incredible photo opportunities, giving us the clearest images of Jupiter we've ever seen here on Earth.

Turns out those gases and vapors are more detailed than a Van Gogh painting, more vibrant than a sunset, at least when color-corrected by people on this planet. Here's how it works: Juno takes black and white photos of Jupiter when it passes in its closest orbit, which NASA then uploads to a huge online gallery, JunoCam. From the sublime to the stunning: The best space photos of 2017. Best Astronomy Pictures: Insight Photographer of the Year. When you gaze up at the night sky, you're not just looking at celestial objects far away in space.

You're looking at objects far away in time, too. The light from a distant star can take thousands of years to reach Earth. That means astrophotography — images of the night sky — is the closest thing we may have to a time machine. The best astrophotography is breathtakingly beautiful to boot. Below are several images shortlisted for the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2017 awards, meaning they represent the most stunning astrophotography work in the world. They include images of the Northern Lights, a crescent Moon, and the Milky Way. The final winners of the contest will be announced Sept. 14 at London's Royal Observatory Greenwich. Yulia Zhulikova Auroral Crown During an astrophotography tour of the Murmansk region with Stas Korotkiy, an amateur astronomer and popularizer of astronomy in Russia, the turquoise of the Aurora Borealis swirls above the snow covered trees.

Steve Brown. Cosmic speck: Earth as seen from Saturn. Astronomers May Have Just Taken the First Photo of a Black Hole. Over the past week, astronomers have trained half a dozen telescopes around the world at a single point at the center of our galaxy. The goal? To finally catch a glimpse of a black hole. The network of telescopes covers half the globe, from the South Pole to Europe and both Americas. For five days, these six telescopes all pointed at one small spot in the constellation Sagittarius termed Sagittarius A* (pronounced "A-star"). Advertisement - Continue Reading Below Observing Sagittarius A* is not easy. Receivers at the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA), one of the radio observatories involved with the effort. Wikimedia Commons Get the secrets of the universe in the PopMech newsletter Please enter a valid email address. Thank You! You have chosen to receive our newsletter at . You have already subscribed. Starting April 4, these six radio telescopes pointed their receivers toward Sagittarius A* every night for five nights and collected a mountain of data.

NASA/CXC/Stanford/I. In new Cassini portraits, Saturn’s moon Pan looks like pasta. Saturn serves up the closest thing to space pasta, the latest round of images from NASA’s Cassini probe, released March 9, show. On March 7, the spacecraft snapped a series of portraits of Pan, Saturn’s small moon that orbits within a 325-kilometer gap in one of the planet’s rings.

Taken at a distance of 24,572 kilometers from the moon, these are the closest images of Pan to date. The close-ups could help refine astronomers’ understanding of the mini moon’s geology and shape. Pan has a distinctive ridge along its equator, which in the past has prompted astronomers to liken the moon’s shape to that of a flying saucer. In the new images, Pan’s ridge isn’t uniform like that of a fictional alien spacecraft. Instead, it’s uneven, creating an overall shape that more closely resembles a ravioli or wrinkly walnut. Still, the ridge’s distinctness is “what is so spectacular and eye-opening in these images,” says imaging team leader Carolyn Porco of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo. 10 Most Impressive Photos of our Universe (universe pic) Eskimo Nebula The Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392), also known as the Clownface Nebula, was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1787.

From the ground, it resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. In 2000, the Hubble Space Telescope produced this image of it. From space, the nebula displays gas clouds so complex that they are not fully understood. The Eskimo Nebula is clearly a planetary nebula. It is surrounded by gas that composed the outer layers of a Sun-like star only 10,000 years ago. Pillars of Creation This Hubble image, showing star forming pillars in the Eagle Nebula, is one of the most popular poster images of outer space, and often appears in science-fiction movies. Pale Blue Dot "Pale Blue Dot" is the name of THIS famous Voyager 1 photograph of Earth, and the title of a book by Carl Sagan inspired by the photo. There was danger to the spacecraft's optics from the nearby Sun. Supernova 1987A Antennae Galaxies Hubble produced this image in October 1997. Crab Nebula. The magical Solar System discoveries we made in 2015. It has been a busy year for Solar System exploration – and particularly our galactic neighbourhood’s small icy bodies.

Comets, asteroids, Kuiper Belt Objects and planetary satellites have all been in the news – from stunning images of comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko at the start of the year, to the recent close-up of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, via Ceres and Pluto. Early January was a continuation of the stream of data from Rosetta, as comet 67P drew closer to the sun. Images were released of jets emanating from the sun-facing surface, from which it could be seen that sublimation of water-ice increased during the daytime, and died down at night. But because the dark surface of the comet retained some heat, the comet was not completely inactive at night – it was possible that fluid might exist for very short periods, leading to sub-surface hydrous activity. Welcome to Pluto (and Charon) July brought us a close-up of Pluto.

A new dawn A ball of mud The oceans of Enceladus What next? University student maps plasma tubes in the sky. Using the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in the Western Australia desert, a Sydney University student, Cleo Loi, has discovered enormous plasma pipes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Thought to be responsible for possible radio interference with satellite navigation systems, the presence of these objects has been predicted for over 60 years, but never before seen. By imaginatively using the radio telescope to observe in 3D, Loi was able to image large areas of the sky using the fast photography capabilities of the MWA to produce a movie that shows the motions of the plasma in real-time. The Earth is surrounded in space by the magnetosphere. This layer is believed to be generated by the movement of liquid iron inside a shell of iron, nickel and other metals, deep within the center of the earth’s core, which creates a magnetic field that extends out beyond the confines of the Earth to wrap our planet in a protective layer that deflects many types of ionizing radiation.

Huge release of Rosetta images paints a spooky picture of comet's rugged landscape. Around seven months after the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe made history by deploying its Philae lander onto the surface 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, an expansive catalogue of images has been released providing an up-close look at the comet's rugged landscape. The photos were snapped by Rosetta's NavCam between September and November last year, as the spacecraft came as close as 8 km (5 mi) from the surface.

The image library published online last week totals 1,776 photos. These were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after. This wouldn't be the Rosetta spacecraft's closest encounter with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with a flyby in February bringing it as close as 6 km (3.7 mi) to the surface, where it grabbed images of the Imhotep region, revealing huge rocks and jagged landscapes broken up by flatter areas covered in dust. Rosetta departed from Earth in 2004 and entered orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last August.

Earth-sized virtual telescope to study supermassive black hole at center of Milky Way. In astronomy, much like many other other aspects of life, bigger is better. Taking this adage to heart, astronomers at the University of Arizona are helping to build a virtual radio telescope the size of the Earth itself. With a resolution factor more than a thousand times greater than that of the Hubble Space Telescope, the new Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) will be used to study in fine detail the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way. A team led by Dan Marrone, assistant professor of Astronomy and Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona, has recently helped stitch in the latest in a range of radio telescopes across the world that form part of a set of instruments being used for Very Long Baseline Interferometry, or "VLBI" – a technique whereby a telescope with a size equal to the maximum separation between multiple linked radio telescopes can be emulated.

This latest instrument is located in Antarctica and is known as the South Pole Telescope (SPT). Share. Hubble's deep field images of the early universe are postcards from billions of years ago. This insignificant patch of sky in the fairly obscure constellation of Fornax is the setting for one of the most remarkable images ever captured. Although only a fraction of the full moon in size, this image traces thousands of distant galaxies to the edge of the observable universe. The Hubble Space Telescope began observing “deep fields” in 1995. The idea was not new – astronomers have always tried to take longer photographic captures that draw in more light to reveal ever more faint and distant objects.

Observing more distant galaxies sheds light on how they form, and how their shapes and sizes change over time. Hubble’s key advantage is that, floating in orbit, it’s unaffected by the blurring effect of the atmosphere and so can provide images of far superior resolution than ground-based telescopes. Careful planning was required for the deep field images. An “empty” piece of sky was needed that contained no bright sources of visible light that might drown out fainter objects. Mysterious Space Globule Looks Undeniably Beautiful. Some astronomers call it "God’s Hand. " Others say it looks like the gaping mouth of a gigantic celestial creature. Featured in a new image taken by the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, a small cloud of gas and dust dubbed CG4 is nothing short of stunning.

Just check it out below. The image of the so-called "cometary globule" -- which lies some 1,300 light years from Earth -- shows a close-up of the space cloud's head, and was released by ESO on Jan. 28. (Story continues below image.) A Very Large Telescope image of the cometary globule CG4, which has a comet-like shape with a head and tail. The head of CG4 is around 1.5 light-years in diameter, while its tail is about eight light-years long -- that's so big that it basically dwarfs our entire solar system, according to Discovery News. NASA Releases Stunning Space Photos To Kick Off The 'International Year Of Light' 3-D Map Of Universe Shows Positions Of Known Galaxies In Unprecedented Detail. NASA's Swift satellite reveals neighboring galaxies in unprecedented ultraviolet detail. New photos of beautiful nebula. Phytoplankton from space: Algae bloom seen from satellite. Black Hole Snacks on 'Super Jupiter' Planet.

Amazing Pencil Nebula Glows on Deep-Space Canvas (Photo) ESO's best images of 2013 – so far. Near-True Color Image of Snowman. NASA releases GRAIL video. The best NASA images from 2012. Shock wave in space: A massive star plows through material between stars (photo). The Mouthpiece of the Pipe Nebula. Spectacular deep space images: 50 Years of the European Southern Observatory. Spectacular Supernova Aftershock Photo Revealed | Stars. Stargazer Captures Striking Nebula View (Photo)